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C.J.: Two departures and a perfect host?

  • Article by: C.J.
  • Star Tribune
  • December 12, 2012 - 8:14 PM

Hubbard Broadcasting properties are losing John Hanson on "Twin Cities Live" and Ian Punnett at FM 107.1, and Jason Matheson's Fox 9 contract is almost up.

Anybody else out there thinking, Hummm?

Hanson is departing for a job in Kansas City while Punnett is leaving for health reasons. This summer Punnett cut back on the hours of the morning show he does with his wife, Margery Punnett, because of a condition known as tinnitus, which causes a buzzing in the ears, headaches and sleep issues. His wife will remain at the station.

Matheson anchors Fox 9 shows in the mornings and is an afternoon co-host of a radio show on FM 107.1, with Alexis Thompson. It is not hard to see Matheson, a talent with options, moving from FM 107.1 afternoons to a morning show, after which he'd go for his customary exercise appointment before showering, then heading over to pump life into the listless "TCL."

Hanson stressed to me Wednesday that he was not pushed. So why is the soon-to-be newlywed leaving?

"Well, that's a good question," Hanson said. "I love sports radio. I wanted to get back on the path that I was on before I came to 'Twin Cities Live.' When I look at my next 30 years of career, I think I'm probably best being a sports radio guy. I like to think that I'm at my best when running a radio station." That's what he was doing in Las Vegas before returning to his native state to co-host KSTP-TV's afternoon show.

While Hanson is thoroughly affable, I've never thought that the TV show clicked.

"You've made that clear," he said with a laugh.

Now that he's leaving, I told Hanson I will be able to better assess whether the problem was him, his co-host Elizabeth Ries or the producers, who don't come up with very interesting material.

"Like I've told you before, if it was everybody's cup of tea everybody would be watching it," said Hanson. "Show's doing well. The response over the last couple of days has been incredible."

Hanson did notice that he's almost getting more attention for leaving than what he's done on air. "That's kind of how it works, though," he said.

Wedding whirlwind

Ten days after John Hanson and Amy Laliberte get married on Jan. 4, he starts a new job.

Way to front-end load that stress.

"Kind of a busy month for us. Yeah, someone said you have to be on your Ps and Qs because it's going to be stressful and others say that's probably a good thing," said Hanson. "We're committed. She's a good one, a really, really good one. I'm excited about that."

They met about three years ago when she was his professional dance partner for a local celebrity event at which his skills left much to be desired. That's not how he's telling it, though.

"She couldn't get enough of the moves, C.J. You know that," said Hanson.

Amy's getting a funny one.

A Parisian pas de deux

Twin Cities travel writer and PR exec Merle Minda had a face-to-face encounter with infamy in Paris.

"I stepped off the escalator and walked straight into the infamous 'DSK,' Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the man who was formerly head of the International Monetary Fund and expected to become the next president of France, until he was caught and accused of attacking a maid in the NYC Sofitel. Remember?"

Who could forget and even if you did, DSK's initials were back in the news this week with an announcement of a settlement with the maid. Minda was amused that news of the settlement was reported by some U.S. media the day we talked, Monday, "But I read about it last week in Paris, and that's where I got the $6 million amount."

Minda spied DSK while on the escalator in the very busy electronics store FNAC on Boulevard Saint-Germain looking for something for her grandson. The writer of www.travelovereasy.com was in Paris, concluding a three-week "solo journey to learn to speak French."

DSK was "wearing a navy raincoat, collar turned up. Really quite an impressive looking man, powerful looking, just like in the photos. In pictures of him he's surrounded by bodyguards and all that stuff and there he was all by himself. It was just so bizarre. We gave each other a look and then walked on; I was beyond surprised."

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

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